Jerm’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Florida Project is a beautiful and sad story of friendship and growing up with a huge imagination while exploring themes on proverty & parenthood.
I had heard a great deal about Sean Baker’s The Florida project, although I never had the time to actually sit down and watch for myself. This film was just a roller coaster of emotions from beginning to end.
Our lead is 6 year old Moonee and her group of young friends (as well as her rebellious young mother) as we follow her summer and bold sense of humor and imagination. Brooklyn prince gives one of the best performances I’ve seen from a young actress. Simply exhilarating and a wonder! She shows she is more than capable of carrying this film , and carry it she does. Without even saying a word, walking through the city of Florida and exploring alone.. she still acts flawlessly. I simply have no other word for it. It wouldn’t work without her. The entire cast deserves the praise!
Such an honest portrayal of childhood and growing up in proverty , making ends meet. Kudos to Sean Baker for not shying away from the heavy subjects of being a single mother as well not matter how heartbreaking it is, he portrayed with with honesty and rawness that simply took me by awe.
The whole film is put together with passion, the scenes flowing effortlessly into each other. The children are all wonderful , the scenes are set beautifully and filmed with care. This is truly a film that was made with love from its creator.
It doesn’t even feel like I was watching a film. It feels real, it feels raw, and that’s what every story grounded in reality like The Florida Project should use to the best of their abilities.
William Dafoe & Bria Vinaite also are brilliant! This is Bria’s first role and it doesn’t feel like it. I heard the studio wanted a big name for the role of Halley but Sean found Bria and this was definitely a great decision. Once again a film made with absolute passion. Halley is a lost soul, a young mother with an incredible and heartbreaking bond with her daughter. But that doesn’t mean she always makes the right decisions for her and moonee while they live in proverty.
It’s very refreshing to see such a complexed take on parenthood. Often we see black or white. But here? It’s so much more, it’s as colorful as the Orlando skylines that surround moonee and her friends.
The film spoke to me on a very personal level: Childhood is often thr time we can create our own happy world through imagination and our sense of wonder, even though the reality around us may be dull and gloom. We can shield ourselves from that, and in the end reality will still find its way towards our “happy place” that’s just the truth. But creating your happy place and using that huge curiosity that comes along with childhood is one of the best things you can do, even when you know what’s coming or aren’t sure... be free spirited before your spirit is captured!
Value what you have while you have it, something Halley learns in the film and I think I can say everyone in the story learns.
The film shows us the realness with the Disney world dream on the outside instead of the other way around.
The title also came about from the early project name of Walt Disney World, Which you can also say is a character of the film too. Always there in the background.
I think I may have found another film to add to my favorite collection of my 18 years of life. I truly recommend this film! Kudos to Sean Baker for sharing this beautiful story with the world and with me. I (almost) cried, laughed, smiled, and even cursed at & with the characters.
The Florida Project is a lush and layered film with a heart touching , honest portrayal of childhood, the challenges of a single mother along with heavy themes of relationships,humility, hope, proverty, and gratitude.